I was recently one of a group of nine retired people who stayed at the Three Swans for two nights for a university reunion. We chose Market Harboroughl for its central location, and the hotel because it could accommodate us all for the required dates and because it looked pleasant as portrayed on its website. Our rooms varied in size and appointments but all were adequate. The new section of the hotel at the rear was also well turned out, with beautiful hanging baskets in the courtyard. But if you enter off the High Street via the old pub the first impression is of a seedy, run-down old place; very off-putting. This needs fixing.
On our first evening (Monday) we all booked for dinner. The meal was so chaotic that it was hilarious in a Fawlty Towers sort of way. We were told the pie of the day was fish pie, which a few of us were interested in, then when we came to order the waiter announced that there was only one fish pie available - literally THE pie of the day! So I changed to pan fried cod, only to be informed that it was in fact pan fried salmon, so I changed to smoked cod poached with a cheese crust, only to be told that THAT was also salmon. At this point we were all falling about laughing as I changed to lamb rump, after checking that that wasn't salmon instead. I was tempted to ask for a Waldorf salad to see what happened - 'sorry Sir but we're fresh out of Waldorfs. Would you like a British salmon salad instead?'Five minutes later the waiter returned full of apologies to say that there was only one lamb rump left, but two of us had ordered it, so could one please change. My wife sacrificed her lamb and had gammon steak and finally all was settled. But when the food started arriving, things continued to go wrong. Someone who had actually ordered salmon got a white fish that looked and tasted suspiciously like cod after all. The solitary fish pie was disappointingly dry and tasteless. One courageous soul who had ordered Thai green curry was given a bowl of courgette chunks in a tasteless grey/green sauce with a few bits of chicken (for which he had to pay extra!). Other things were late, or unappealing, though to be fair my lamb rump was OK. At this point we called for the manager and pointed out that things had gone well beyond a joke. He sort of apologised, though insisting that the fish served was salmon that had turned white because it had been poached (Basil Fawlty would have been proud of that one) and offered us free desserts and coffees. And to be fair the cheeseboard that several of us had as dessert was very good. But then at breakfast the following morning they ran out of - progressively - eggs, mushrooms and bread and we had to hang about for 10 minutes or so waiting for new supplies! Priceless!
Our dinner was on a Monday, and hotels can have problems running short of supplies over a busy weekend. But a professional establishment would anticipate this, and if the worst happened, be honest and adjust the menu. I mean, why nominate fish pie as pie of the day if you haven't got any? Overall, the management of catering is slack and incompetent, leaving overworked staff like our marvellous young waiter to cope with impossible situations. The coaching inn hotel chain talks a good game via its slick website and brochures, but in this instance fell hopelessly short of living up to its own hype. A change of management is badly needed. Until that happens, my advice is to stay well away.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.